Putin, Democracy and The Jews

Nathaniel Popper of the Forward writes in the Wall Street Journal:

…"Russia is not ready for a Democratic or Republican or liberal Jewish coalition," said Rabbi Berel Lazar, the chief rabbi of Russia and Mr. Putin’s closest friend in the Jewish leadership. "Russia is a different mindset–a different history, different tradition. In Russia, Jews should not be involved in politics."

Such self-censorship has not always been the rule in the post-Soviet era. In 1996, the Jewish media oligarch Vladimir Gusinsky helped found the Russian Jewish Congress as a voice for the 500,000 Jews of Russia. Mr. Gusinsky was accused of bringing his own political battles into his Jewish work, but he was not afraid to speak out about the Russian government’s policies toward Israel or its policies toward Chechnya. Perhaps more important, the Russian Jewish Congress sparred with other Jewish groups about the proper positions to take. There was, in short, debate.

Then, in 2000, Mr. Gusinsky was arrested and forced to flee the country. Like oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky a few years later, Mr. Gusinsky was accused of financial wrongdoing, but opposing Mr. Putin was seen by many as the real crime. The new oligarchs who took over the funding of the Russian Jewish Congress were noticeably silent on the Kremlin’s policies. It was obviously bad for business.

The changes at the congress were not the only shift caused by Kremlin intervention. For a number of years after the fall of communism, Russia had multiple "chief rabbis," representing different Jewish traditions. In 2002, this custom changed when Mr. Putin signaled that he would only deal with one of these rabbis, Berel Lazar, as the official chief. Whatever the reason–and it is hotly disputed–Mr. Putin’s intervention has effectively shut out the other voices of community, leaving only the overwhelmingly friendly proclamations of Rabbi Lazar and the Russian Jewish Congress.

That Jewish organizations avoid criticizing Mr. Putin does not mean, however, that there are no Jewish people in the opposition. Alexander Osovtsov, the staff director of the Russian Jewish Congress under Mr. Gusinsky, joined the pro-democracy movement. His first job was with the Open Russia Foundation, which was shut down after its leader’s arrest. Now he is with Another Russia, a group that trains opposition leaders.

Mr. Osovtsov says that his years at the Russian Jewish Congress were hopeful ones, but an outspoken, independent Jewish organization is now impossible. It could function normally, he says, "only if there is a minimal degree of freedom in the country. That doesn’t exist anymore."

It does not exist because Chabad under the leadership of a thug named Berel Lazar and his financial backer Lev Leviev helped Putin with his "Guzinsky problem" and in return became the "exclusive" voice of Russia’s Jews. This anti-democratic thuggery is truly what Chabad is about. The dancing rabbis are simply PR, a fundraising tool.

[Hat Tip: Dr. G. Mendel.]

Meanwhile, the Russian dissident poisoned, it seems, by Vladimir Putin’s thugs has died in London. [Hat Tip for this bit of sad news: Yisroel.]

To read the long, sad tale of Chabad’s Russian evildoings, click here and start reading from the bottom of the page.

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1 Comment

Filed under Court Jews & Quislings

One response to “Putin, Democracy and The Jews

  1. Yochanan Lavie

    The following is an Associated Press release:

    Russia Sending Air Defense Missile System to Iran

    Friday , November 24, 2006

    MOSCOW — Russia has begun delivery of Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran, a Defense Ministry official said Friday, confirming that Moscow would proceed with arms deals with Tehran in spite of Western criticism.

    The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue, declined to specify when the deliveries had been made and how many systems had been delivered.

    Ministry officials have previously said Moscow would supply 29 of the sophisticated missile systems to Iran under a $700 million contract signed in December, according to Russian media reports.

    The United States called on all countries last spring to stop all arms exports to Iran, as well as ending all nuclear cooperation with it to put pressure on Tehran to halt uranium enrichment activities. Israel, too, has severely criticized arms deals with Iran.

    Tehran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the United States and its allies suspect Iran is trying to develop weapons.

    The U.N. Security Council, where Russia is a veto-wielding permanent member, is currently stalemated on the severity of sanctions that should be imposed on Iran for defying its demand to cease uranium enrichment.

    The Tor-M1 deal, involving conventional weapons, does not violate any international agreements.

    Russian officials say that the missiles are purely defensive weapons with a limited range.

    According to the Interfax news agency, the Tor-M1 system can identify up to 48 targets and fire at two targets simultaneously at a height of up to 20,000 feet.

    Russian media have reported previously that Moscow had conducted talks on selling even more powerful long-range S-300 air defense missiles, but Russian officials have denied that.

    Moscow already has a lucrative, $800 million contract to build Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, which is nearly complete. Interfax reported Friday that the head of Russia’s atomic energy program, Sergei Kiriyenko, was due to travel to Tehran on Dec. 11 for a meeting of the Russian-Iranian commission for trade and economic cooperation, which he co-chairs with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

    Russia strongly supports Iran’s right to nuclear energy but has joined the United States and Europe in demanding it halt enrichment to ease concerns.

    How can Lazar do business with Ras-Putin, who is arming the modern-day Hitler of Iran who wants to annihliate Israel?

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